Invicta Fighting Championships will return to "The Sunflower State" this Friday night (July 13, 2013) at Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Kansas.
The preliminary card will be streamed live on InvictaFC.com on fight night, beginning at 7 p.m. ET with the main card beginning at 8 p.m. ET. This will be Invicta's second (official) pay-per-view (PPV) event. Canadian fans will also be able to view the preliminary card action on The Fight Network.
Headlining the main event will be a thrilling featherweight rematch pitting former Strikeforce women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg against former Strikeforce womens' bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen. Cyborg won the first meeting, but the third round TKO was the longest fight she's had in the last seven years. Coenen enters the bout riding a two fight winning streak including a victory headlining the inaugural Invicta event last April.
Also on tap will be a number one strawweight contender fight between unbeaten grapplers Claudia Gedalho of Brazil (9-0) and Japan's Ayaka Hamasaki (9-0). The winner will face Invicta FC 115 pound champion Carla Esparza, who had to withdraw from the event due to injury.
But before those bouts take place, plenty of top tier talent will be on display in the first half of the whopping 10 fight main card, which features top prospects like Joanne Calderwood, Bec Hyatt, Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas.
Our complete main card preview and predictions (part one) are posted below:
115 lbs.: Joanne Calderwood (6-0) vs. Norma Rueda Center (2-0)
Calderwood has quickly staked a claim as one of the best female Muay Thai practioners, particularly at 115 pounds. The Scottish native has sliced and diced her way through the strawweight division thus far, nothing more impressive than her Invicta debut last October where she demolished previously unbeaten prospect Ashley Cummins in the first round. Her second fight in the promotion against Livia von Plettenberg was equally devastating and she's since scored a first round TKO win over Invicta veteran Sally Krumdiack at a Cage Warriors event. She went through two opponent changes before finally getting the fight against Center.
Norma Center is not one to be overlooked. While just 2-0 as a pro, she was also 5-0 as an amateur and she trains at Greg Jackson's gym along the likes of Julie Kedzie, Sarah Kaufman and Invicta champion Michelle Waterson. She stepped up and took this fight on short notice, which means she's not afraid of anything because Calderwood is probably one of the scariest women in the atomweight division right now.
The key here is for Center to somehow keep this fight either in the clinch or get it to the ground. She's showcased respectable stand-up skills in prior bouts, but she is far too raw to stand at distance or even in the pocket against the far superior Calderwood. Even if she can enter the clinch, she's going to have to be very careful not to get cross-faced and then kneed in the body as Calderwood has vicious Muay Thai skills. If Center can't take this fight to the ground, she's going to be in for a world of hurt.
Final Prediction: Joanne Calderwood via TKO in round two
Gomes has really come into her own as of late. The American Top Team standout has the strength of an ox and is capable of doing some seriously scary things to her opponents once she gets them to the canvas. Gomes has quickly gone 2-0 in her Invicta career, destroying Katalina Malungahu in her debut and then battering former Strikeforce title challenger Hiroko Yamanaka en route to a unanimous decision in her last fight. She was slated to fight Cyborg at the last show but withdrew with an injury. A victory this weekend could earn her number one contender position in the featherweight division.
Tweet is experienced and has a lengthy background in Muay Thai. Despite her striking prowess, nearly all of her fights have ended by submission, including all of her wins. A fact I find interesting is that Gomes and Tweet were Ronda Rousey's first two opponents of her professional career when she first started at 145 pounds. Tweet stepped up on just two weeks notice to fight Gomes when Julia Budd got injured.
While all of Tweet's prior wins have come via submission, that's simply not happening here. Gomes manhandles people on the canvas and is hyper aggressive with submissions and ground and pound. Tweet does not want to go to the ground with her. If Gomes has a weakness, it's on the feet where she has a limited reach and overall technique. Gomes hurt early in the Malungahu fight and she was outstrike by Yamanaka in the third round so she's not unstoppable. Tweet will need to utilize her Muay Thai skills from a distance if she wants to be victorious. That being said, I think it's a tall task on just two weeks preparation.
Final Prediction: Ediane Gomes via submission in round two
Hyatt has the makings of a superstar. The Aussie is an absolute spark plug with a very unique look and a brash personality to go along with it. The "Rowdy" one was set to make her debut earlier this year but instead found herself fighting for the title on one week's notice, losing a competitive decision to Carla Esparza. She rebounded at Invicta FC 5 by destroying Jasminka Cive in a serious grudge match. Now, she's looking to get one step closer to a rematch for the belt.
Inoue will be making her Invicta debut this weekend, but she's more than polished enough to hang with the big names in the strawweight division. The Japanese dynamo if ferocious on the feet and has an above average ground game which has helped her score multiple submission victories. Her only defeat is at the hands of fellow top-ranked Japanese grappler Ayaka Hamasaki, who's competing in the co-main event for number one contender.
Final Prediction: Bec Hyatt via TKO in round three
Nakamoto is downright nasty. Anyone that disagrees should defer to her highlight reel. she was a Muay Thai kickboxing world champion and if there was any question those skills wouldn't translate to MMA, they were answered in her Invicta debut against Jessamyn Duke where she fended off a takedown attempt before scoring a violent first round knockout. Her win was overturned to a no contest due to her second knee being illegal but the point had been made
Yankovich is an accomplished striker in her own right, becoming a champion female boxer before transitioning to mixed martial arts. She looked terrific in her pro debut, lighting her opponent up on the feet before getting caught in a guillotine choke. Yankovich learned from her mistake and began training at Team Nogueira in Brazil. Her efforts paid off as she won her most recent fight via keylock on the ground. Now she has a tremendous test ahead of her.
Yankovich might be able to hold her own against Nakamoto in pure punching prowess but Nakamoto is far to dangerous with her diversity of attack as she can utilize elbows, kicks and knees to effect. Perhaps Yankovich could get something going on the ground but if Duke couldn't take Nakamoto down, I don't think ahem can either.
Final Prediction: Miriam Nakamota via TKO
115 lbs.: Tecia Torres (2-0) vs. Rose Namajunas (2-0)
Torres has quickly risen up the ranks as one of the top can't-miss prospects at 115 pounds. "The Tiny Tornado" held a spotless 7-0 amateur record and also competed as a kickboxer on the side which helped her hone her striking skills. She debuted with Invicta against fellow prospect Kaiyana Rain and took home a hard-fought decision. In her last bout, she dished out three rounds of punishment against another solid prospect in Paige VanZant to keep that record unblemished.
Namajunas might be known first as UFC heavyweight Pat Barry's girlfriend, but 'Thug" is quickly making waves in the women's strawweight division. Splitting time with Greg Nelson in Minnesota and Trevor Wittman in Colorada, Namajunas has really taken her game to the next level. She submitted Emily Kagan in her professional debut but it was her most recent fight that really turned heads when she scored an incredible 12 second flying armbar against Kathina Catron.
Torres will be at a pretty significant reach and height disadvantage but she's more than capable of making up for it with her ability to get inside and score with precise punches. The ATT standout has some very impressive striking diversity and loves the spinning attacks, which helped earn her nickname. Expect to see her put some serious pressure on Namajunas and try to force her to fight on her heels. Namajunas, while she's won her last two fights with submissions, should really try to work her reach advantages here. She's long, lanky and has some nice pop in her strikes. If she can keep Torres on the end of her jab it'll leave openings to really wing some heavy kicks. Both ladies are talented enough that I see this one going all the way to the judges.
Final Prediction: Tecia Torres via unanimous decision
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of our Invicta FC 6 main card preview!